I finished reading John R. Cammidge’s novel She Wore a Yellow Dress yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Read on to see why!
The novel is inspired by historical events and the author’s own life. The novel takes places over many years, primarily in England. The main character, John, is a university student when the novel begins and he talks a bit about his upbringing in a rural part of England in York. He meets his future wife, Jean-Louise, on Guy Fawkes’ night in 1965. The novel follows John and Jean-Louise in their relationship and a focus on John’s career at Ford of Britain all the way to the late 1970s. Also featured in the story is John’s love for birding, which causes him to relate a lot of what goes on his personal and professional life to birds he has studied. World events push the story along with a lot of talk about gender equality, equal pay, labor unions, strikes, etc.
When I first started reading the book, it took a little getting used to the author’s style of writing and the style of story. It has an almost matter-of-fact autobiographical feel to it where the author just tells us what happened and everything going in chronological order. Almost like we’re just taken on a timeline of his life. It’s more factual than feelings based if that makes sense. Even the historical events are told like you’re reading a historical nonfiction piece with lots of facts and figures instead of learning about them in some more vague way by how they effect the characters in a larger sense. So when I first started reading I thought to myself “Oh this is going to be a long book.” I wasn’t sure how I would get through the almost 450+ page novel! But after the first 50 pages or so I was actually really into it which surprised me and I wanted to see where life would take John and Jean-Louise.
The novel is primarily told from John’s point of view, but at the end of each chapter (once Jean-Louise was permanently in John’s life) there were a few pages of Jean-Louise’s perspective. I really liked that. The only thing I didn’t care for when it came to this was the last chapter was all from Jean-Louise’s point of view and I would’ve liked to also read John’s point of view since he was the main voice throughout the novel.
I’m so glad I stuck with reading it after my initial hesitation because I ended up really enjoying it.
*I was sent this book complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*